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Religion | IN BRIEF

Hallucinogenic Tea May Get Religious Exemption

September 13, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

DENVER — A federal appeals court has decided that a New Mexico church's use of hallucinogenic tea is likely to be protected under freedom of religion laws.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a preliminary injunction against the U.S. attorney general, Drug Enforcement Administration and other government agencies that sought to prohibit use of hoasca tea by Brazil's O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal church, whose U.S. operations are based in Santa Fe, N.M.

The appeals court agreed with a lower court that the church has shown substantial likelihood of success in winning exemption for sacramental use of the tea, which contains a drug from plants found in the Amazon River basin and barred by the Controlled Substances Act.

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